By Governor Tom Wolf from Harrisburg, PA - 2019 Inauguration of Governor Tom Wolf and Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, CC BY 2.0,

John Fetterman appears to be everywhere you look whether it’s on Twitter, where he has viral tweets multiple times a day, or in the Hamptons for a fundraising event, however, his schedule appears to be too tightly packed to fit any debates in. The media can’t get enough of the far-left opponent to the Trump-backed Dr. Mehmet Oz. Fetterman has been in politics for over a decade, so a debate should be something he could confidently walk into, yet he refuses to time and time again.

Many mainstream media outlets are providing a sympathetic framing to Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s decision not to debate his Republican opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz as Fetterman recovers from a stroke.

That appears to be in part because of the sharp attacks from Oz’s campaign and Republican allies that have included sarcastic pledges to help Fetterman through any debates, and one spokesperson’s acerbic remark that Fetterman could have avoided his stroke by eating more vegetables.

On-air conversations from CNN and MSNBC saw media figures widely condemning the Oz campaign’s comments about Fetterman’s health, and hypothesizing that it may push people away from a Republican candidate with an already unenthusiastic voter base. However, several commentators and guests also expressed concern at Fetterman’s ability to govern. Fetterman, who suffered a stroke in May and spent time away from the campaign trail, has said he does plan to debate Oz at some point.

“I don’t know why it is so hard in our politics today to apply the same standards no matter which political party is in question. You know, you give Republicans a lot of grief for trying to duck debates, I know I do,” Avlon said. “You know what? You gotta do the same thing when a Democrat does it for whatever reason.”

Avlon added that, although Fetterman should not be the victim of low blows from his opponent, he has an “obligation” to debate Oz in front of his potential constituents. 

Over on MSNBC, Puck News senior political correspondent Tara Palmeri said it is “absolutely a weakness” for the Fetterman campaign that its leader is not well enough to go out and campaign. She said it was important for Fetterman to get out and campaign if he is not able to debate, but admitted that the strategy of staying out of the spotlight has been working for him. 

Debates are a pilar of campaigning. Politicians spend large amounts of money and devote a lot of time to making sure they’re prepped for debating. Of course, fleeing the debate stage is a weak point in the Fetterman campaign. If he’s not well enough to debate, then how will he be well enough to serve in the Senate? Currently, Fetterman is estimated to have a 13%  lead over Dr. Oz, while some polls are suggesting that this margin is lower than double digits, Fetterman is likely just hoping to skate by until the election and ride out his lead without the possibility of blowing it on the debate stage. Dr. Oz, his campaign, and the media should not let Fetterman get away with doing so.

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Nancy Portia Barberis
Nancy Portia Barberis
2 months ago

I hope he will be uncovered before i die
I am 81

The Old Dog
The Old Dog
2 months ago

Aw, come on, man – – -Fetterman’s running is just an ego-driven thing, he hasn’t a chance. For him to actually win the election, or ANY election requires a display of proof that most of Pennsulvania is a combination of the crazy and the stupid.

2 months ago

I wouldn’t let Fetterman run my doghouse; he is the craziest acting individual i’ve seen in a long time.